A petition against a proposed quarry near Yellowknife’s Vee Lake was gathering signatures on Thursday afternoon.
The Change.org petition, created by resident Ryan Silke, opposes Det’on Cho Construction’s plan to build a quarry on the city’s municipal boundary, near the lake.
Det’on Cho says the quarry will help supply vital aggregate to the Giant Mine remediation project as it ramps up over the next decade, cleaning up a toxic former gold mine.
City councillors expressed little firm opposition when the company presented its plan at City Hall last month (the project requires council sign-off).
Petitioning councillors online, Silke wrote: “We, residents of Yellowknife, call on you to not support the proposal.”
Silke noted the proposed quarry’s proximity to the Ranney Hill nature trail and the Vee Lake road, an access road for activities like fishing, hiking, camping, skiing, and access to various cabins.
“[We] are concerned with the adverse effects of industrial quarrying on the above activities, and the safety of vehicular traffic on the road,” Silke’s petition states.
As the site of the proposed project is on unsurveyed commissioner’s land, the City of Yellowknife would need to acquire the land from the NWT government then lease it to Det’on Cho. A range of bylaw and environmental permitting steps await the company.
City documents state an estimated four million cubic metres of aggregate will be needed for the remediation project, which the City says will drive up local demand as other quarries are nearing depletion.
Det’on Cho has said the company would take steps to ensure workers and the public are safe, including publicizing information about when work is being done, lights, signs, and other markers, including flaggers and instructions to workers.
“This project is supported by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, both from an environmental sense and an economic sense,” chief operating officer John Henderson told councillors in February.
“It is financially viable and employment-generating. The rock and material is non-acid bearing. Ultimately, we’re committed to returning that site to something that would blend to the natural environment.”
Around 75 people had signed the petition, created earlier on Thursday, as of 3pm that day.
“I love the hike on Ranney Hill,” wrote Dan Wong, a former councillor and now tour operator, on the petition’s page.
“I recently applied to expand my tourism licence and purchased equipment to be able to offer new guided hikes in the area.”
A range of other commenters complained of little consultation, adding other locations were better-suited.
Emelie Peacock contributed reporting.